Monthly Archives: September 2017

Nada lagu Negara ku bukan milik Indonesia atau Cina

Sultan Abdullah Muhammad Shah Sultan Perak ke 26 telah di buang negeri ke Pulau Mahe, Seychelles sebuah kepulauan jajahan Perancis pada 21 July 1876 kerana dituduh bersubahat membunuh Residen Perak yg pertama James WW Birch.

Putera Baginda Raja Mansor telah belajar bermain biola dan lagu La Rosalie ciptaan Pierre Jean de Barrenger ( 1780-1857) sangat popular ketika itu.

Pada tahun 1888 Raja Mansur telah mengiringi Sultan Idris Murshidul Azam Shah ke England menghadiri pertabalan Queen Victoria. Apabila sampai disana Pihak British bertanyakan lagu Kebangsaan Negeri Perak tetapi Kerajaan Melayu tiada lagu Kebangsaan melainkan Nobat. Tetapi kerana tidak mahu mengaku kalah Raja Mansur telah bersiulkan lagu La Rosalie dan mulai dari itu Lagu Itu telah resmi menjadi Lagu Kebangsaan yang pertama di Bumi Malaya dan berjudul ‘Allah Lanjutkan Usia Sultan ‘

Setelah itu sebuah Kumpulan Bangsawan Indonesia telah mendengar lagu Rosalie di Singapura dan menamakannya Stambul Satu sebelum merakamkannya semula sebagai Terang Boelan.

Pada tahan 1947 Felix Mendelssohn menyanyikan semula dgn tajuk Mamula Moon dan popular seluruh dunia.

Pada tahun 1956 kerajaan Malaya telah Menubuhkan committee bagi mencari lagu Kebangsaan bagi persediaan Sambutan Merdeka 1957. Lagu itu terpilih pada 5 Ogos 1957 setelah gagal mendapat lagu yg sesuai.

Lagu itu telah digubah semula olih
Alfonso Soliano (pemimpin Orchestra Radio Malaya), DSP Croff (Pengarah Muzik Band PDRM) dan A.T Reed (Pengarah Radio Malaya).

Senikata Negaraku pula telah digubah olih sebuah panel yang di perkenankan olih DYMM Raja Raja Melayu.

Pada Malam 31 Ogos 1957 Negarku diperdengarkan buat pertama kalinya di Stadium Merdeka.

Editorial from Sin Chew Daily News last Sunday, featuring Negaraku and, of course, Kak Saidah’s book, Rosalie and Other Love Songs.

Translation below.

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Sin Chew Daily News
Editorial – Sunday Latte (19th March 2017)

My Home Country (Negaraku) and Feelings about Rosalie
By Zhen Ding Xian

Caption for picture– Rosalie: Origins of Negaraku

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the national day, and the authorities are beginning promoting a series of activities with the major theme “Negaraku”.

“Negaraku” is also the name for the national anthem of Malaysia; just the mention of Negaraku, the ear will ring with the pleasant tune of the national anthem. We had heard of numerous national anthems of the nearly 200 countries, but, in my view, in terms of the melodious tune, Negaraku can, without much dispute, be listed as one of the top three.

This reminds me of a dinner gathering a month ago in my friend’s place. One beautiful and elegant Malay lady approached me in the midst of a casual conservation, and introduced herself, in fluent English, as Datin Saidah. She wanted to talk about a cover story reported earlier in Sin Chew Daily.

The title of that cover story was: Negaraku, a French song.

Datin Saidah believed that the report lacked comprehensiveness and led to a certain misunderstanding among public communities, and hoped that this condition can be rectified.

She talked on many points, but owing to my vague impression about that story, I was not so very clear about many of them. But she seemed to know very well about the article, and recounted it effortlessly as if she memorized it all by heart. Of course, her knowledge about the article must be from quotes from others or through translation.

I was a bit surprised to find that a report from a Chinese newspaper can lead to such an energetic response from a Malay lady.

When I was backed at office, I searched for that article. The content is generally about quotes from conservations with the historian, Khoo Kay Kim, who pointed out that Negaraku does not originate from Indonesia, but was a song, named La Rosalie, written by a French, Pierre Jean, about a hundred years ago.

After re-reading the article, I did not see much issue about it, and so gradually lost sight of the whole matter.

A week later, I received a parcel with a hard-covered book in it, titled Rosalie, and the author is Saidah Rastam.

She is the Datin Saidah whom I met before.

Datin is a composer and also a researcher on Malay musical history. She read laws in her early years in UK and practiced laws for a few years after coming back to Malaysia, and now returns to her beloved music. She is also related to the Perak royal family by blood.

The first chapter of the book is none other than ‘Rosalie: the Origins of Negaraku’.

Datin has made an in-depth research, and narrated in a detailed way about the origins of Negaraku, and how it became the national anthem.

British resident, JWW Birch was assassinated in Pasir Salak, Perak during the colonial period. As punishment, Sultan Abdullah of Perak was sent into exile by the British colonial power to the Seychelles in the Indian Ocean. The old sultan gazed at the sea everyday and listened to the song, Rosalie, played by local French musical band.

The lyrics of the song relate to sentimental nostalgic affection to a girl by the name Rosalie, but what the sultan thought of was his faraway country.

Later on, the song became a favourite of the prince, Raja Chulan, when he visited his father in the Seychelles. After his return to the palace in Perak, he regularly hummed with the tune of the song, and everyone in the palace thus became familiar with it.

In this way, the song, Rosalie, spread from the palace into among the ordinary people. Matched up with different lyrics, some became love songs, some as lullabies. From the Malay Peninsula, it reached out into Indonesian archipelago with the most famous version known as the Terang Bulan. Over time, some said the song came from Indonesia.

A few years later, a team of delegates from Perak was invited to visit Britain. For the sake of ceremonial etiquette, the Perak delegation was asked to provide a state anthem of Perak for performance purposes. However, there was no state anthem for Perak at that time, and the song, Rosalie, came to the mind of Raja Mansur (the elder brother of Raja Chulan). He, therefore, hummed out the tune of the song to the British musical band to be performed as the state anthem.

X X X

A year before Merdeka, in 1956, Tunku (Abdul Rahman) set up a national anthem committee, headed by him, with the purpose of selecting a national anthem from around the world for the new country.

With the generous reward of ten thousand dollars, there were very good responses, receiving 514 pieces of work from Britain, USA, Europe, Australia, Turkey, India and Malaya.

Tunku did not feel satisfied with these pieces, and so none was accepted after the reviewing process.

After this, the committee made requests to some of the top composers of the world, some of whom were venerable masters of the musical world of that time.

These composers submitted their entries, but Tunku again felt not satisfied and rejected all.

Everyone was worried as Merdeka day was getting closer and closer, but the national anthem was still elusive.

Finally, Tunku thought of the graceful tune of the charming Rosalie/Terang Bulan, and decided right away that this will be the national anthem. This is the Negaraku.

X X X

Whose piece of work is Negaraku? Pierre Jean?

No one really knows for sure. Pierre is celebrated for writing lyrics, but not as a composer; furthermore, later research about his works does not revealed that they included Rosalie.

Perhaps, it is a piece of work without known authorship, and of unknown origin. This, however, does not hinder its wide distribution with a variety of versions appearing in French, Malay, Dutch, English, and Chinese languages. There exists this deeply ingrained sense of affection, be it that between lovers, among family members or towards a country, that transcends what language the song may appear in.

It does not matter if it is from France, Seychelles, Indonesia or the USA. It is not that important anymore.

What influenced Tunku in making that final decision is the sensual melody of the song that conveys the feeling of love; that love that is contagious that binds different people together in the embrace of the home country.

This love is fully expressed in the lyrics: the nation progressively marching on with her people feeling happy and blessed and united together.

This is the love that comes with the 60th anniversary of the foundation of the country; we should not let it down.

Whatsapp’s small group discussion